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MSc Fusion Energy

Push the boundaries of science in the quest for limitless clean energy

Year of entry: 2021 (September)
Show year of entry: 2022


1 year full-time,
2 years part-time

Start date

September 2021 (term dates)

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Research into fusion is entering an exciting new era with several large facilities aiming to achieve the crucial milestone of net energy gain.

To create sustained fusion reactions, fusion fuel must be heated to 100 million degrees. The fuel is rapidly converted to plasma, which is extremely difficult to confine and control. New international facilities using high-energy lasers and superconducting magnets are crucial steps on the way to reliable fusion energy but there are still many challenges to overcome.

This MSc will prepare you to address these challenges. You will be introduced to the skills in computational and experimental plasma physics, and conduct cutting-edge research under the guidance of physicists at the York Plasma Institute.

You'll have unrivalled opportunities to interact with world-class international fusion scientists, making the MSc in Fusion Energy an excellent way to explore your interest in fusion and prepare for a career in this field.

Women in science

The Department of Physics is the proud holder of an Athena SWAN Silver Award and an IOP Juno Champion award, recognising of our commitment to gender equality.

Athena SWAN Silver Award  Institute of Physics - Juno Champion

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Studying under many of the UK's top Fusion scientists, as well as eating lunch and chatting freely with them was exceptionally beneficial for my knowledge. The lectures were incredible, with each course designed to provide you with the most up-to-date fusion physics and engineering, including a particular emphasis on data analysis and computational modelling.
Hamish, MSc Fusion Energy

Read more of our graduates' stories.

World-leading tutors

Learn from internationally-renowned researchers pushing the boundaries of knowledge in fusion energy

Cutting-edge techniques and facilities

Access to state-of-the-art data analysis techniques and equipment, in purpose built teaching, research, laboratory spaces

Novel research projects with our experts

Conduct novel research under the supervision of our world-class researchers, with potential for collaboration with external organisations

Course content

You'll take a number of core lecture courses, supplemented by laboratory work designed to develop your computational and experimental skills. You can choose from a range of option modules to focus your learning on topics you wish to pursue further.

You will explore the many exciting areas of modern plasma research, for example: cutting-edge medical therapies utilising plasma jets and beams of laser-generated ions; plasmas as compact particle accelerators and next generation plasma space propulsion systems.

The MSc culminates in a major research project where, under the supervision of world-leading physicists at the York Plasma Institute, you will conduct cutting-edge research in fusion.


Core modules

Choose at least one of the following. If you choose both, you cannot take another option module in the Spring/Summer term:

Option modules

Choose one of the following in the Autumn Term:

Choose one of the following in the Spring/Summer Term (not available if you have selected both Low Temperature Plasma Science and Technology and Laser Interactions and High Density Plasmas):

Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.

Research project

Your final project is an open-ended investigation which you'll design, carry out and report on independently. The project will provide an opportunity for creativity and original thought, and will give access to cutting-edge fusion research

Each project has a specific staff supervisor who will give advice and assistance as needed at regular supervisory meetings. Available projects will vary from year to year to reflect the interests of our researchers. Recent projects have included:

  • Design and build of critical focal spot monitoring diagnostic for a VULCAN PW laser experiment
  • Designing experiments to control and understand the MAST Upgrade Super-X divertor
  • Statistical analysis of fluctuation fields in a linear plasma device
  • Parametric study of fast electron transport
  • Erupting plasmas: explosive instability and fusion

It is likely that some projects will be based at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (for example, using the MAST tokamak) or the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

There is also potential to undertake a project with industry.

The York approach

Every course at York is built on a distinctive set of learning outcomes. These will give you a clear understanding of what you will be able to accomplish at the end of the course and help you explain what you can offer employers. Our academics identify the knowledge, skills, and experiences you'll need upon graduation and then design the course to get you there.

Students who complete this course will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a deep knowledge and understanding of key topics at the forefront of plasma science and fusion energy; define how different mathematical, computational and experimental approaches are needed to address specific topics and apply this understanding in approaching new problems.
  • Critically evaluate research literature and data, paying attention to the techniques used, and their limitations, to provide reliable or robust conclusions and recommendations and suggest alternative approaches.
  • Develop and present solutions to complex problems using computational techniques, and make measured judgements about what is the best digital approach for specific problems in plasma science and fusion energy.
  • Plan, develop and execute an open-ended independent scientific investigation in plasma science or fusion energy, applying the appropriate techniques to bring the investigation to a successful conclusion.
  • Communicate complex ideas associated with fusion science and technology in clear, precise, and accessible terms to a variety of scientific audiences.
  • Articulate how current research in fusion energy and plasma science impacts on societal issues identifying innovative solutions.
What attracted me most to my particular project was the opportunity to do some real hands-on science, that and actually being able to generate a visible plasma!
Michael, MSc Fusion Energy

Read about more of our students' final projects.

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees for 2021/22

Study modeUK (home)International and EU
Full-time (1 year) £9,730£23,300
Part-time (2 years)
This is the year 1 fee. Fees for future years are subject to confirmation.

Students on a Student Visa (formerly Tier 4 Visa) are not currently permitted to study part-time at York.

For courses which are longer than one year, the tuition fees quoted are for the first year of study. Fees for subsequent years are subject to increase (no more than 2% each year).

Fees information

UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status

Find out more information about tuition fees and how to pay them.

Funding information

Discover your funding options to help with tuition fees and living costs.

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2021/22 throughout the year.

If you've successfully completed an undergraduate degree at York you could be eligible for a 10% Masters fee discount.

Living costs

You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.

Teaching and assessment

You’ll work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace.

Coronavirus (Covid-19): changes to courses

We've made some changes to the way our courses are delivered to minimise potential disruption from the ongoing global pandemic.

Teaching format

You will be taught with a combination of lectures, problem classes, and computational and experimental lab sessions. You'll also attend two week-long intensive workshops featuring experts from outside the University, which will develop your wider understanding of fusion energy and provide opportunities to connect with leading researchers.

Teaching location

Most of your teaching will take place in the Department of Physics and York Plasma Institute on Campus West. The majority of departments, colleges and facilities are based nearby.

Some research projects are based off-site, for example at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

About our campus

Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.

Assessment and feedback

You will be assessed with a mixture of closed and open-book exams, essays, and evaluation of your laboratory work.

The grade for your research project is based on your project notebook and final report. You'll also sit a viva on your final report; an oral exam which is excellent preparation for a research degree.

York Plasma Institute has great facilities, offers very high quality teaching and greatly interactive environment where MSc students can daily discuss with PhD students and the academic staff.
July, MSc Fusion Energy

Read more of our graduates' stories.

Careers and skills

We provide bespoke careers sessions throughout the year to help you maximise your full potential in whatever career you choose.

Many of our students are offered PhD positions following the MSc, in both fusion energy and other subject areas. They go on to doctoral studies at York, Oxford, Imperial, Strathclyde, Durham and Liverpool, among others. Other students go straight into industry, some as far afield as Japan.

Career opportunities

  • PhD student
  • Software developer
  • Engineer
  • Transport modeller
  • Civil Service
  • Associate lecturer (further education)

Transferable skills

  • Research and analysis
  • Computer programming in a range of languages
  • Time-management
  • Presentation skills
  • Teamwork
  • Data management

Entry requirements

Typical offer
Undergraduate degree 2:2 or equivalent in Physics or a related discipline
International pre-masters programme Pre-masters from our International Pathway College
Other international qualifications Equivalent qualifications from your country

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.0, minimum 5.5 in each component
C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency 169, minimum 162 in each component
Duolingo 100, minimum 90 in all other components
PTE Academic 55, minimum 51 in each component
TOEFL 79, minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking and 17 in Writing
Trinity ISE III Pass in all components

For more information see our postgraduate English language requirements.

If you've not met our English language requirements

You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.

The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.

After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.


You can apply and send all your documentation electronically through our online system. You don’t need to complete your application all at once: you can start it, save it and finish it later.

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